Colorado Rapids loan forward Danny Mwanga to NASL's New York Cosmos

Danny Mwanga and Kofi Sarkodie

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USA Today Sports

Former No. 1 draft pick Danny Mwanga's quest for playing time will take him to the NASL, after the Colorado Rapids announced Thursday they have loaned him to the New York Cosmos.

“Our focus is to continually grow our players and give them the best opportunity to succeed,” Paul Bravo, the Rapids Vice President of Soccer Operations, said in a statement. “This loan allows Danny the chance to get valuable playing time and for our coaches to observe him in game situations.”

The Cosmos' NASL regular season campaign runs through Nov. 1, but the Rapids have the option to recall Mwanga (above, left) at any point prior to the Sept. 15 roster freeze date.

“This is a great opportunity for me in joining the Cosmos,” Mwanga said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to getting started in training with the guys, working hard and hopefully contributing to the team’s title defense.”

Mwanga, 23, was drafted by the Philadelphia Union with the first overall pick of the 2010 Major League Soccer SuperDraft and was one of three finalists for the 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year award. During his stints with the Union (2010-2012), Portland Timbers (2012) and Colorado Rapids (2013-2014), Mwanga has scored 15 goals and recorded 10 assists across 98 regular season games.

“We’ve been looking to make additions to our options at forward and we believe Danny provides that,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said in a statement. “Danny is an experienced player who is still young and we are looking forward to having him join us.”

Mwanga was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and moved to Oregon in 2006, before playing college soccer at Oregon State University from 2008-2009. He earned his U.S. citizenship in June 2013.